In their last Brazilian overview for the month just prior to the end of 2021, the Brazilian publishing giant PANROTAS and FECOMERCIOSP, the São Paulo-based business and economic research organization, served up a tentative but positive outlook for the travel and tourism sector of the country’s national economy. And, as it has turned out, they were right to do so.
“Although we continue to face obstacles daily, it seems that the worst part of the pandemic is gone. In Brazil, it’s clear that the consumers are cautious, but yet desire to travel and feel the relief of more than two years of enclosure,” José Guilherme Alcorta, CEO of PANROTAS, said in releasing the overview, adding, “More open frontiers and more vaccination around the globe. The majority of the most important destinations to Brazilians in Europe and Americas are open and flexible in their rules … We hope we can continue to help you during this difficult journey, with solutions, news, events, numbers, but also with partnership and friendship.”
And the data for the first month of 2022, recently released by the U.S. National Travel & Office (NTTO) affirm the above. Of the Top 20 overseas source market countries that send visitors to the United States, Brazilians placed behind only the perennial Number 1, the UK. Brazilian arrivals in the USA in January 2022 totaled 70,214—an increase over the same month a year ago of more than 1,000 percent! (See INBOUND’s lead article for more on NTTO’s data.)
Obviously, one might conclude, it is a good practice to heed what José Guilherme Alcorta has to say about the state of the industry in the PANROTAS/fecomercioSP report. Citing its own research, as well as that from other sources, the overview’s major points include, but are not limited to, the following:
● Despite the impact of the COVID-19 virus and the economy’s weakening in Brazil at the beginning of this year, a significant number of Brazilians are keeping the trips as one of the consumption priorities and intend taking some days off away from home at least once in 2022.
● Nearly half (43 percent) of Brazil’s people are saving money to travel within the next 6 months.
● International air offerings haven’t yet reached the pre-pandemic volume yet.
● The Brazilian currency, the real, is unfavorable viz-a-viz the U.S. dollar. It’s been going that way for a decade, as the following table attests:
Real vs. the U.S. Dollar:
A Ten-Year Record
|Year||Brazilian Real vs. U.S. Dollar|
Source: Prepared by INBOUND using Xe.com. Based on mid-market quotes of March 12 for each year.
● Overall consumers seem to feel safer in traveling within their own country.
● Leisure trips attract 83 percent of Brazilians who intend to travel, and seven out of ten (71 percent) of them are attracted by the prices as a major factor.
● One of the largest OTAs in Brazil, Viajanet, reported that the purchase of domestic flights increased more than 76 percent in 2021.
● Despite the hesitation by some over long-haul travel, is an upward trend regarding international flights in Brazil, as most of the consumers’ targeted countries have already opened their borders, such as the United States.
● The presented data resulted from the Brazilian Hotel Business Operators Forum (Fórum de Operadores Hoteleiros do Brasil – FOHB).
● Last year, CVC, the largest tourism company in the country, achieved half of the sales that it registered in 2019, and had 7.7 million clients flying in the same period.
● Another measure that points out an upturn in Brazilian tourism in 2021 is the employment rate. The sector was responsible for 5.76 percent of new positions registered in the country, which represents 162.6 thousand out of the 2.82 million registered positions as a positive balance in the year.
● Based on data by Monitora Turismo, it is expected that the TMCs will reach the pre-pandemic numbers in July of this year. The data is by Abracorp, the major Corporate Travel Agencies Association in the country,
● On the downside, the travel trade is still upset with the tax spent by travelers abroad—a tax paid by Brazilian international travelers.
From mid-2014 onward, Brazil experienced a severe economic crisis. The country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell by 3.5 percent in 2015 and 3.3 percent in 2016, after which a small economic recovery began. That recovery continued until 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact the economy again. More recently, the World Bank told us the COVID-19 pandemic exposed Brazil to an unprecedented health, social and economic challenge, leading to a 4.1 percent GDP decline in 2020—and a recession—followed, mercifully, by a rebound in 2021. An emerging recovery in demand, both domestic and external, and a pick-up in commodity prices are expected to push GDP growth to 5.3 percent in 2021. Another recovery.
Jogo de Cintura Redux: When one contemplates the above paragraph and tries to understand the sheer force of the negative economic winds that Brazilians have had to endure in the last decade, one wonders just how they continue to recover, to endure and to prosper. Again and again.
Sometime early in the aforementioned decade, a Brazilian colleague explained to INBOUND’s editor that the answer was in “jogo de cintura.” The most literal English translation of this expression is “game waist,” or what one does in a futbol game when a team needs something to happen and the odds are challenging. Jogo de cintura can mean resourcefulness, pluckiness, cleverness. My favorite translation of late comes from the Cambridge Oxford dictionary, which put it this way: “footwork [noun] clever or skilful/skillful actions to achieve something or deal with a problem.”
But the best way to understand the meaning of the expression is to listen and learn from your colleagues in the Brazilian travel and tourism industry. They won’t talk. They’ll just “do.”